If we really want to get rid of suffering, completely and totally, then clinging has to go. The spiritual path is never one of achievement; it is always one of letting go. The more we let go, the more there is empty and open space for us to see reality. Because what we let go of is no longer there, there is the possibility of just moving without clinging to the results of the movement. As long as we cling to the results of what we do, as long as we cling to the results of what we think, we are bound, we are hemmed in. Meditating on No-Self: A Dhamma Talk (Edited for Bodhi Leaves), by Sister Khema(1994)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A wimpering end to vacation

It's Saturday.  I fly today.  I didn't run Sunday, we knew that, I proceeded to have four very good runs, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  All 15k, but they had a birthday party for me on Friday and I played golf in the morning, so I didn't run.  Then I didn't run today, so I could pack, etc.

Not the best finish to what was a pretty good month of training.  Two sets of intervals, a week of hill work, a road race and several 15ks in very hot weather.  Not bad.

Monday and Tuesday this week were tropical storm Debby days.  They were really fun runs actually.  Wet and wild.  Wednesday and Thursday were Africa hot.  Humid bt very quick and the pace was nice and strong and enjoyable.

In general I enjoyed my vacation and I really enjoyed the running.  I bought three pairs of Saucony shoes along with what I have, all with a low 4mm drop in them.  I got two more of these inserts that I am using, I also bought a Camelbak "bag" for the longer runs that should be helpful.

I was able, as you can see, to get a lot of equipment that should provide some "help" for the training for longer races. 

I consider these vacations to be the starts of new years as my contracts are 11 months long.  Starting Monday I will be doing teacher training in our Exam Center office in Obolon for 8 weeks.  But it is better hours actually and should make running nice and easy.

Still, it would have been nice to run more miles for the month but, I ran.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tropical Storm Debby aka I'm pretty sure I'll run though

You can plan, but it doesn't mean it will work out.  Life is ever changing.

Drove home on Saturday from Toccoa, GA.  I long drive and I decided to forego the run that I had hoped I would do in the evening. As a result, I had a lackluster week of mileage but 4 really impressive hill workouts and of course that treadmill joy.

The plan was to get in the car and go to the beach house on St. George Island and do my Sunday run there.  Nice plan.  Didn't work out.  We are having Tropical Storm Debby, complete with 60 mph winds and driving rain.  We ended up getting to the beach house, having no power or phone and after I slept for about 6 hours they issued an island wide evacuation.  Drove back to Tallahassee, got in about 8 p.m., which meant I also missed the daily Olympic Trials on NBC and got in no run.

Two days, no running.  Not as bad as you might think.  More proof of the lack of control that one has over things.

Woke this morning to more driving rain.  I was out the door and running :)  15k and a moderate pace that felt fine.  I worked a lot of following my breath on this one just to practice.  My body worked well, there was strength and my right leg didn't arise today.  A much easier run that the runs last week. 

Right now I have not plan for running the rest of the week :)

I'm pretty sure I will run though.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Knowing when to Relax

It's Friday evening here.  Tomorrow we get back on the road and make the long trip back to Tallahassee.  Traveling screws with your running, you've got to really make time for it.

Wednesday I didn't run because we all went down to Atlanta to visit the Georgia Aquarium, the Jimmy Carter Library and the MLK Museum area.  We also had dinner down there.  We left about 8:00 a.m. and got home about 9:00 p.m.  So, no run.

Thursday morning I added a mile to the 12k and ran 15k in the morning.  Even more hills.  The pace wasn't fast, bu the running was very interesting.  Most of the run was contemplating how to stay patient and how do you stay patient in an ultra if the hills just never stop.  I tried to look back on the Conemarra experience and think about those hills.  I have to say that again, not knowing the course was a real detriment and not knowing that there are hills in Ultras, lots of them, is important. Really something to consider.  Another very important thing to consider is that you have got to be patient, you can't just blast away, this is something I have always struggled with and this week in these hills has been very helpful for that I think.

Friday I woke up exhausted discovering that the 15k on those hills really took it out of me.  There is a treadmill so I thought I would do that.  Funny how your mind makes any excuse it can to get out of pain.  In fact, the 15k on the hills wasn't painful, it required patience, but I let my mind talk me out of doing it.  We went to Toccoa Falls, took a nap when I came back, and then I got on the treadmill.  My intention was to do 15k. Ha.

As we all know, I can't stand treadmills, I just can't deal with it, talk about not having mind discipline.  I managed to do 10k, some of it very quick.  the last Mile was in 6:40 or quicker.  At least this is a positive, I know that I am getting more leg speed and strength.  This is a nice treadmill, but still, I really like being out and doing it, not staring at a TV or a wall.

Tomorrow, I hope to run in the evening when we get back.

Impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and change.  The essence of running I think.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Turtles and Big Hills

Still Tuesday here in Toccoa.  I ran 12k today and yesterday. 

Yesterday's run was very good.  Worked out a route through Google Earth that was 12 k.  It is an out and back but still has both of the absolutely brutal hills on it.  Both hills have a climb of well over 200 ft in about, one in 400 meters, the other is a double climb 200 then 200.  I set a goal of trying to run up both of them by the end of the week on Saturday before we drive back to Tallahassee.

Monday that goal of course was not achieved.  The interesting thing about running here is it is certainly showing me what patience is about.  Unlike most hills these are real hills on the edge of mountain range and some patience and training is needed before trying to go up them at all quickly.   The other thing is that I am not running very hard because the hills are of course taking a lot out of me. 

On the way back I was headed up a hill yesterday and met a turtle.  It was about 1/2 way across the road when I first saw him and was about foot farther along by the time I got up to him.  I decided to stop, pick him up and move him to the grass in the direction he seemed to be headed.  He was struggling and I was struggling, it seemed like the polite thing to do.

Moments later a huge truck came by at about 60 mph (100km/hr) so I feel okay about the whole thing.

Tuesday's run was in the late afternoon, about 5 p.m.  We played golf this morning, shot an 80 so that was okay, on a mountain course over in  Clayton, GA.  Got back around 3pm, in time for a nice nap :)

The afternoon run was almost the same as the Monday run.  The exception being there was no turtle and I ran farther up both hills/cliffs/mountains than I did no Monday.  As a result, my total time was a bit less, but not by much. 

My right leg has some issues in various places but nothing that prevents running or changes my mechanics.  Jury is still out on these Saucony Kinvaras.

I enjoyed the turtle, it seemed like a nice turtle.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mountains? Maybe not, but big hills.

In Toccoa, GA it is the end of the Appalachian Trail and we are around the Lake Hartwell area right on the Georgia/South Carolina line.  I had hoped to get in about 15km today but that didn't work out.

Anyway, one day after the race I feel pretty good and there are no real pains or aches.  Same for the run as well.

Today's run was really, really slow.  This is a very hilly area and I really wanted to find a trail to run on.  I tried to divert off the road two or three times and find some small trails to run but they were just trails that led up to the back of houses and didn't last very long.

I also took some detours off main roads to find these trails and this added some time to the run in general.  My actual plan was to try and do a basic out and back from where we are and get in the time.  But when we drove in last night I figured that it was going to just be running, and probably some walking up and down these hills so I had to adjust and I guess I did.

I ended up running 12k with all the side trips.  I had to walk 1/2 of three hills.  It was a very slow run but I enjoyed it immensely.  The scenery is really beautiful and you can see some real nice views from different parts of the run.  Tomorrow I will take my camera when I run I think.

After the run I managed to map out a 12k run that is out and back and will have big hills but that is the way it is.  I hope that by the end of the week I can maybe work up each hill.  Not going to worry about time this week, just going to work hard on patience and taking what you get.

Being nobody, going nowhere.

Running and Racing? Really? Coincidence?

The time says 3:13 a.m. 17.06.12 on my computer.  Its actually 8:15 p.m. in Toccoa, Georgia, USA on 16.06.12. 

Thursdays run was good stuff.  15k, making it 15k Wednesday and Thursday.  Nice and easy on the roads, no trails, the rain has been really heavy and that makes those trails a little ugly.  I've been feeling a bit of a tinge in the the right soleus muscle.  It was actually there when I left Kyiv.  But feels a little more present right now.

I didn't run Friday because I wanted to run the Watermelon Run 5k in Monticello, FL on Saturday and I wanted to try and run pretty hard to test where I was in terms of strength, fitness, etc.  Over the last week I've done intervals, run 3 15k's and the others were 12k.  So, all in all, a Friday off wouldn't kill me.

The Monticello Melon run 5k has been in business a long time.  The first running was 34 years ago.  I've run it twice.  This being the second time.  In 1993 I ran this in 16:23 on a very different course.  The course I remember did not have the hills that this one did.  This course finished with about 400 m uphill and three good lumps in the last mile and one in the first mile.  The second mile was fairly flat.

This years 34th Annual had 379 participants.  I ran 20:49 by my watch and finished 34th.  Strange huh? 

This is another weird coincidence.  In the Dublin Marathon in 1992 I ran 2:45 and finished 99th out of 3,000+.  Then, at Conemarra I finished 99th.  Coincidence, or just random.  I think most people with my philosophy would just go with random.

So the run was fine.  I had good focus, stayed strong and felt like I was running hard.  I had no lost focus and I followed the breath the whole way so I really took a lot of positive things from running this hard. 

On the down side I am FAT!! I just feel fat in terms being able to generate good speed and feeling light on my feet.  I really have to work on this.  I keep thinking I can do it and I just don't seem to be losing any weight.  But I will just return without blame and keep working toward that. 

The soleus is a little more sore than I would like but that is okay.

So I ran hard three times this week without damage.  Now we have moved on to Toccoa George in the Lake Hartwell area for the next week so hopefully I can get some nice easy mileage in this area.  No running hard this week.  Just running.

Running and Racing, nice.  Real.  But a lot of coincidences don't you think?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

No animals on the track I guess

After my stint with the animal kingdom I had some hopes that maybe I would see something cool doing intervals over at the Florida Statue University track.  Every Tuesday, for over 30 years, Gulf Winds Track Club has conducted Tuesday evening intervals.  I went last week, and I went this week.

Yesterday, Monday was a road run.  I went 12km, 6km and back on the roads.  Uneventful, other than to say that my right leg has some pains, but they aren't the usual.  The foot issue is resolving, the stone bruise is gone, it just feels like a tight ITB.  Good reason not to go nuts on the mileage and try to get in between 85 and 90 km each week for the vacation.

Today the workout was 4 x 400 and then 3 x 1200.  A strange workout.  I don't recall having ever run anything like it.  Suffice to say, I was stronger at the end of the workout than I was last time.  The speed was thus a bit quicker, the beginning was about the same.  The middle 1200 was very strong with negative splits through each 400. 

Intervals require that you understand there will be suffering, and that the suffering will end.  Buddhism in circles.  No animals out there though.  Bummer.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Running the trails has such great advantages.  One, it is covered most of the time so the sun is not beating down on you.  Two, it is nice and soft and you don't beat your legs up as much.  Three, it is just plain nice.

The down sides for someone like me?  I fall some times.  I fell today, first fall since last Sunday when I had my first run in Tallahassee.  Really a sneaky little root.  I got up to find it and I must have been dragging my feet like Frankenstein to catch that root, it was practically buried underground.

I ran at about 4:30 this afternoon.  Though the blog is 6/11/12 at 1:30 a.m., it is still 6:30 p.m. on 6/10/12 in Tallahassee.  It was hot and humid.  Lost a lot of water weight today.  At about 31 minutes I stopped for water and GU because I really didn't feel good at all.  That was helpful.  I also stopped for water at 61 minutes.  I fell at 43 minutes.

The last few days have had nice nature looks with a little bit of fear with it.  Today was the freaky deeky dance.  Tooling along in a nice shaded patch, really soft ground, nice and then something wiggles in front of me.  SNAKE!!!!!  Not a serious snake, a black snake, harmless, about two feet long.  I danced all around it not to step on it or have it go nuts on me.  It wiggled away, I wiggled away.

I managed to stumble home for the day, very tired.  Probably tired also from 8 days in a row, this is the best training I've had in months.  No self, try to remember that.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nature, cameras and computers

Well, it is actually 8:00 p.m. on Friday, my computer says 3:03 a.m. Saturday, so probably the blog will say Saturday.  I never change the time on my computer when I travel.  Maybe so I have a bit of a connection with Kyiv at all times.  That seems weird doesn't it?

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were all very good 12k workouts on the trail.  I've enjoyed the trail much more this year for a variety of reasons.  First, I've quit worrying about the workout.  Second, I've gone in different directions each day, and third, I'm in mildly okay shape to do 12k in the heat of Tallahassee.

I still feel fat :(.  what a drama.  Impermanent, unsatisfactory and changing, yet, I still feel Fat.

Yesterday I was about 3/4 of the way through the run and had just come up one of the larger hills on the trail and was doing a little brain recovery and right there on the trail was a deer.  Now deer are not the most intimidating animals I've ever met, but never take an animal for granted I say, I slowed a bit and moved to one side of the trail.  He/she looked at me for a bit, put his/her head down one last time and let me get to within about 10 meters and then bounded away.  Deer are amazingly agile animals and cool to watch. 

Today was even trippier.  Same trail, going the other way, but only about 40% through the run and it was really quiet.  Just me, my steps, leaves and some wind.  Then a big smack to the right of me that turned my head quickly.

Looking at me was a black bear about 50m away.  He was working a dead tree for something.  I stopped dead (still the runner, turned off the watch).  He looked at me, I looked at him.  Now bears scare the crap out of me, all I know is they are strong as hell and can be very quick.  However, I think this guy/girl was just as freaked out as me.  We looked at each other for about 5 seconds, he snorted at me, turned and jumped over the log and ran away.  Trippy.

I ran on and considered that one and of course being the weirdo I am "if I only had a camera."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Remember its a vacation.

It's Tuesday!  That means nothing on vacation.  But certainly running is going just fine.  On Sunday I went shoe shopping at the Capital City Runners store.  I looked at a variety of shoes with minimal drop and then had my feet checked out for various orthotic inserts.

I ended up buying something called Saucony Kinvara 3. A very nice shoe so far.  I took an insert that has less of a hard arch as the machine seemed to think i had great arches.  But this insert has a metatarsal displacement pad and that is useful so far. 

I've run twice in these shoes.  Yesterday was a nice 12 km on the roads on my usual out and back.  Good time, solid pace, very hot and humid in the morning.  BS was good before and after.  I did get hot feet, but I do almost every time I run in a new pair of shoes.

Today I went and did intervals with the Tuesday evening interval group run by Gulf Winds Track Club.  I used to do this every Tuesday when I lived here.  I wanted to check to see exactly what sort of fitness I might have as I also signed up to run the Melon Run on the 16th, its a 5k.

I did a nice 5k warmup, the intervals, then a warm down giving me a total of 12k for the day.

The workout was 4 x's 1200.  A tough workout for me given I was just trying to run hard.  Remember that several weeks ago I did 8 x 400 and it gave me some heart.  I have to say, from a positive standpoint, I did manage to finish the workout and I ran better than I thought I would.

For the workout it went 4:31, 4:38, 4:43, 4:49.  As you can see I was by no means burning it up.  But I was working very hard and it took awhile to work into it.  In general I thought that it was hard but enjoyable.

Learning?  I'm still way overweight.  Working on it.  I don't have much leg turnover, but I do have the desire and the shoes worked out nicely.  I think I will try to do intervals again next week.  I'll be interested to see what tomorrow's workout will be like.

This weight thing is tough, I just don't have any discipline it seems.  Once I get hungry I just eat like maniac.  I am eating a fair amount of nuts, but it is still vacation :)

Its a vacation, try to live a little. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tallahassee, FL

It's Sunday and I just finished my first true trail run in a year.  Ran my 15k route through Forest Meadows, powerline road from the Trillium Ct. house my parents live at about 7:15 in the morning.  That's right, I am back in America for the first time since last July.

The weather was fantastic, though humid, but it was a gorgeous way to start this month of training and vacationing.  I of course managed my regular fall, this time a stone on the power line jumped up and grabbed me. Good BS to start, bad BS to finish.  Ate some walnuts and almonds with green tea afterward.

Pace speed were nice, impermanent, unsatisfactory and changing.  I'll buy some new inserts tomorrow, new shoes today.  Nice to be here in the land of the government preserved trail head :)

Some niggly stuff that I think is related to the worn out adidas'.  Got 602 KM on those shoes though.  Nice work.

Back in Tallahassee, more trails tomorrow.